Rock’n’Roll Nashville 5k – Race Report

It’s now several weeks since the Rock’n’Roll Nashville 5k, so forgive me for being very delayed in writing my race report!  I’ve had a crazy few weeks with lots of work and travel so blogging has unfortunately taken a hit.  Hopefully things will start to calm down a little now and I can get caught up!

The Rock’n’Roll Nashville 5k took place on a very, very, VERY rainy Saturday morning on 30th April 2016, with 5k, half marathon and marathon distances to choose from.  I was on a road trip with occasional guest blogger Sarah, and this was her First Ever 5k, so we were super excited for it!   Sarah included a brief summary of this race in her last guest post, so I’ll be keeping this one short and simply covering the race in a little more depth.

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The Rock ‘n’ Roll race series has grown in popularity over the past few years, and it’s not difficult to see why. Starting in 1998 with the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon, there are now 31 events across 9 countries and are known for their combination of live music, cheerleaders and enthusiastic volunteers – you’ll feel like you’re running through a big street party!

We had landed in Nashville from NYC at 11pm the evening before the race, which means we missed the pre-race expo – which was very disappointing as I’ve heard good things about the Run Rock’n’Roll expos.  Hopefully I’ll make it next time!

The weekend of the race, I was right in the middle of my injured leg saga and running had been giving me a sharp, shooting pain up the entire side of my left leg for several weeks.  Needless to say, I planned on taking this one very easy, and wasn’t 100% certain if I should have even been running it.

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Rainiest race start EVER

The race start was turbulent, to say the least.   The rain was truly torrential as we lined up into our starting corrals, completely soaking everyone who was waiting to run – and it was that real heavy, I-just-walked-out-of-a-swimming-pool kind of rain.  It was also quite humid though, so I didn’t really mind the rain too much!  Cold + rain = miserable, but humid + rain = actually quite refreshing.

Just as the race was about to start, there came an announcement that the start was delayed from 6:45am to 7:05pm.  20 minutes, not too bad.  I could stand in the rain for another 20 minutes.  The organizers were not concerned about the rain, but rather the impending lightning storm that was threatening to strike at any time – and I’m not a fan of cancelling races but safety is of course the priority in events like these.  Safety first every time!

20 minutes later, we were still lined up ready to start.  We’d stretched, we’d taken videos to pass the time, we were keeping ourselves busy.  Then we got another announcement – delayed until 7:25.  Another 20 minutes!  At this point people just abandoned the starting corrals and headed for shelter in a nearby building.  It was pretty funny, seeing this building overrun with drenched runners all waiting for the go-ahead to start.  I must say, people were in great spirits though!

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Believe it or not, this had a few thousand runners lined up 5 minutes before this photo was taken
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Runners under shelter!
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Just hanging out…

At this point, a small miracle happened – THE RAIN STOPPED.  People could sense the impending restoration of the race start, and a mad dash started to get back into the starting corrals.  Finally, we were ready!

So after that bumpy start, we were off.  I found the first half mile very frustrating as I was constantly weaving round people who were either walkers or slower runners – but let’s be honest, with such a crazy race start it made the concept of pace-based starting corrals very difficult.  I don’t think that could have been prevented so I wasn’t too upset about it.

Now, I mentioned earlier that I would be taking this race very easy due to injury.  A training 5k for me is normally around the 33 or 34 minute mark, my PR is 31 minutes.  I really, REALLY want to complete a 5k in under 30 minutes in the near future, but this race wasn’t the one to shoot for.  I had my knee support and my compression socks on and I started out slow, very aware of the shooting pain in my leg as I ran.

However, it turns out it’s difficult to go slow when you’re racing!   I did run slower for the first few minutes (due in some part to the weaving!), but then I made a very common mistake – I sped up and finished my first mile far too quickly.  My first mile came in at 9:41, which would have been a new 5k PR if I’d kept the pace up throughout.  The exact opposite of taking it easy!

By mile 2, I forced myself to slow down.  The pain in my leg had actually lessened, but it was very much still there, so I slowed the pace and even started walking on some of the steeper hills.  The route did also get progressively hillier as the course went on, so I think I would have slowed down anyway even if I wasn’t injured.

As is the norm with Run Rock’n’Roll races, there was live music along the course which was super fun!  I run with headphones as I like to use a special playlist with BPM to match my cadence (I highly recommend doing this, it’s so fun!) – so I was pausing my music along the course to enjoy the live music too!

After what felt like no time at all, I saw the big inflatable arch with that lovely little word emblazoned across the top – FINISH.  It’s always an amazing sight!  I managed one last sprint over the line and then moved quickly to find some ice for my leg.

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Over the finish line. I made it!
Did not start
I totally didn’t take a block of ice from the post-race Gatorade stand and ice my injured leg…

After the finish line was a parade of swag.  Seriously – I couldn’t believe how good the swag was, I’ve never seen such a haul at any of the dozens of races I’ve run before.   The procession started with a medal, the heaviest, best medal I’ve had from racing.  Then came more food than I knew what to do with – we got Gatorade, Water, Fruit, Protein Bars, Chocolate, Nuts, and all sorts of healthy snacks.  Then came a t-shirt, a pretty good technical shirt which I’ll definitely get plenty of use out of throughout the year!

So much free stuff that I can't even carry it....
So much free stuff that I can’t even carry it….
Beer and the coolest race medal ever
Beer and the coolest race medal ever

After the race there was live music, who were mostly playing to an unresponsive audience, nobody was really paying any attention to them.  Sarah and I made up for it though, we were dancing and singing along loudly enough for everybody else!  I must admit, it is a big odd to be dancing in the rain, watching live music and drinking beer at 9 in the morning…..

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All in all, this was such a fun race and definitely gave me a great experience of the Run Rock’nRoll series!  Now, the big question – which one should I sign up for next?

Have you run any Rock’n’Roll races?  Which ones are your favorites?

Until next time guys!  Remember to check out the fun on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Pam x

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